Nathan Fillion as Bill Pardy
Elizabeth Banks as Starla Grant
Michael Rooker as Grant Grant
Gregg Henry as Jack MacReady
Tania Saulnier as Kylie Strutemyer
Brenda James as Brenda Gutierrez
Don Thompson as Wally
Jennifer Copping as Margaret
Jenna Fischer as Shelby
Haig Sutherland as Trevor
A strange meteor lands outside of the quiet, rural town of Wheely and something alien crawls out – first taking over the body of the wealthy-but-unfortunately-named Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) and from there very quickly the rest of the town. Soon only the town sheriff (Nathan Fillion) and Grant’s wife (Elizabeth Banks) are left to stop the parasite from spreading to the rest of the world, if they survive the night.
Done with a knowing wink and a nod, “Slither” doesn’t offer much in the way of scares, but makes up for it in laughs and decent banter and a number of well executed gross out moments.
It’s an incredibly tricky balance of tone to maintain – one that sends many lesser films plummeting into unintentional self-mockery – but first-time director James Gunn (“Dawn of the Dead”) manages it with aplomb. He also manages the even more difficult task of adding a bathetic element to the monster that actually gives the film some heart.
Most of the laughs, not surprisingly, are courtesy of Fillion whose irony-filled taciturn charm is on full display here. He’s ably assisted by Gregg Henry as the very earthy mayor and a number of well chosen and well executed sight gags that always manage to be funny without ever going over-the-top into straight out ludicrousness. Not everyone’s so lucky; plucky Tania Saulnier, despite an excellent introduction as she escapes from slugs invading her bathtub, ends up spending most of the film as an exposition device.
The monster effects aren’t the best either. The main creature design doesn’t seem to have a well thought-out concept behind it and the digital work on the slugs is uneven. It’s hard to make a slug, even a fast moving slug, creepy but Gunn does get a few good moments out of them.
If you’re looking for real horror look elsewhere, but if you’re looking for an entertaining film, “Slither” fits the bill.
“Slither” is rated R for strong horror, violence and gore, and language.